Shut SMS #62

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a week. Some appear in the parashah sheets "Ma'ayanei Ha-Yeshu'ah" and "Olam Ha-Katan." Here's a sample:
Q: My good friend is getting married in a civil ceremony and if I do not attend, he will be offended. Should I attend, and if I should not, how do I explain it?
A: One should not participate in something which is against the Torah. You should explain that he does not have a monopoly on being offended, and just as he is offended, so are you. I do not throw stones at those who desecrate Shabbat despite being offended, but if they invite me to an event which violates Shabbat, I will not come even if they are offended. I do not throw stones at those who eat Treif, but if they invite me to a non-kosher meal, I will not come even if they are offended. And may Hashem have mercy.
Q: I want to marry an Ethiopian man but my parents are opposed. They told me that will not help pay for the wedding and will not attend. Am I obligated to obey my parents because of the mitzvah of honoring father and mother?
A: No. You decide. There is no obligation of honoring parents to perform a transgression – like baseless hatred (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 240:14, 25).
Q: How does one clean strawberrys?
A: Cut off the top with a little bit of the fruit. Soak it for two minutes in soapy water. Rinse it with a strong flow of water (Chief Rabbinate of Israel).
Q: Is it permissible to give meat and milk cooked together to an animal to eat?
A: No, it is forbidden to get any benefit from it (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 87:1).
Q: Isn't it a problem to use the non-Jewish names brought from Babylonia for the Hebrew months?
A: They are a remembrance of the second Redemption (Ramban on Shemot 12:1).
Q: Is it possible that someone misses their Beshert?
A: Yes. If he meets a good woman and he rejects her for improper reasons (Re'im Ahuvim chap. 5).
Q: Does one fulfill the mitzvah of learning Torah by listening to a Torah class on a tape?
A: Certainly. But one does not recite a blessing on learning Torah until he says words of Torah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 47:4).
Q: Who takes precedence – my husband or my mother? If my husband comes home, is it permissible for me to stop talking to my mother on the phone?
A: Work it out with your husband beforehand.
Q: How big is a "Ke-Zayit"?
A: A box of matches (see Shut She'eilat Sholomo 1:103).
Q: Is a shower considered "Nine Kavim" for the sake of purity?
A: Yes, with a strong current (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 201:1).
Q: Why is it forbidden for women to serve in Tzahal?
A: It is immodest. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
Q: What should I do if my father drinks alcohol almost every day?
A: Ask him if he wants help freeing himself from it.
Q: My mother is sick. Should I go to a woman who can check if she has the evil eye or some type of sorcery which is causing it?
A: There is no such thing. She should repent, pray and give Tzedakah (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:196).
Q: Ha-Rav said that the claim that one need not wear a seatbelt because Hashem protects us is nonsense. Why – we pray for Hashem to protect us?
A: Hashem also protects us through our intellect. Mesilat Yesharim, chap. 9.
Q: What was the blessing on the manna?
A: Blessed is Hashem…who brings forth bread from the heavens (Sefer Chasidim #1640. And see Shut Yechaveh Da'at 6:12 in footnote).